Cross-references allow you to create clickable links between different piece of content in your InDesign documents. They’re also dynamic, so when the content on one end changes, the other end can be updated with just a click. And they’re widely supported; they work in every kind of interactive document shown in this course: fixed-layout EPUB, reflowable EPUB, PDF, and Publish Online. This video includes a demonstration of how to make and manage cross-references in InDesign.
- [Instructor] Cross-references have a lot going for them. They allow you to create clickable links between different pieces of content in your documents, and they're also dynamic. So when the content on one end changes, the other end can be updated with just a click. And they're widely supported. They work in every kind of interactive document that we'll see in this course, including both kinds of EPUB, PDF, and Publisher Online. So let's see how cross-references work. Our exercise file here is a digital magazine, and on page 12, there's a subscription form that we'd like people to use to subscribe.
And what I'd like to do, is to add a cross-reference elsewhere in the document, that readers can click to jump to this subscription form. Something like you see on page 10, down here at the bottom, where it says, Enjoying this issue? See Don't Miss Out on a Sweet deal! on page 12. And to make this clickable, we could just use a regular old hyperlink with the page or the text on the form being the destination. But I have a few other things that I'd like to accomplish here. The subscription form will appear at the end of the issue every month.
And I want a clickable reference to it in every issue. I also wanna have a reference to the page number where the form is. Now each issue might have a different number of pages, and the marketing department may change the title of the subscription offer in each issue. So it's not always gonna say, Don't Miss Out on a Sweet deal!, and it's not always gonna wanna point to page 12. So, either I'm gonna have to manually update the title and the page number after I know their final for a particular issue, or I need to find a way to automate the process of updating them. And that's the benefit of using cross-references.
And let's say that the text Enjoying this issue?, right here. Let's say that that never changes from month to month. So I'm gonna leave that as regular text, and just make the part below it here, the cross-reference. So first, let's zoom in. We'll select the text, and delete it. I'll leave my cursor in the text frame, and I'll open the Cross-References panel by choosing Window, Type & Tables, Cross-References. I'll click the button in the panel to create a new cross-reference.
Starting at the top of the dialog box, I can link to either a text anchor or a paragraph formatted with a particular paragraph style. So I'll choose Paragraph, and then in the Destination section of the dialog box, I can choose from any open InDesign document. So right now I just have this one document open. The style that was used to format the text Don't Miss Out on a Sweet deal! is called Subscription Title. So let's find that, right here. I'll click on it, then I can see that text.
And if I move the dialog box out of the way, I can see the cross-reference has instantly been created. Now this is pretty close to what I want. It's just missing the word see at the beginning. Notice that we're using the cross-reference format called Full Paragraph & Page Number, right here. If I choose a different format, I'll get different results. Like if I choose just Full Paragraph, then the page number disappears. But again, this is pretty close to what I want, so I'll choose Full Paragraph & Page Number.
And to add the word see at the beginning, I'll click the pencil icon, to edit the cross-reference format. Then in the Definition field, I can add the word see, and a space following it, at the start. So I'll just click in this field. clicking) Type see and a space. Notice this is where the quotation marks and the words on page are coming from. They're very tiny but you can see them here. There's the quotation marks. This element is for the full paragraph text. Then we have the words on page followed by the element for the page number.
Code elements like these, you can grab from the menu on the right side, by clicking this plus button. And you can find them here. Page Number, Paragraph Number, Paragraph Text, and so on. If I choose one, the code is added to the field. I'll just delete this one. And click OK to close the dialog box. And then I'll click OK again, to close this dialog box. Now let's see why it was worth that effort to create the cross-reference. For instance, say the number of pages change.
If I click on this page in the Pages panel, and then add one after it, the subscription form will now be on page 13. But if I jump back to page 10, I can see that the cross-reference was automatically updated with the new page number. And that's pretty cool. If I delete that page in the Pages panel, the reference instantly fixes itself. Now, what if the title of the subscription form changes? I'll go to the subscription form, zoom back out, and change the text to say best subscription deal ever.
And I have to be careful when I edit this text, because remember, this is the destination for the cross-reference, and there's a marker just before the text that maintains the destination. If I accidentally delete that marker, then I'll destroy my cross-reference. If I go into normal viewing mode by pressing the W key on my keyboard, I can see my hidden characters. And just before this text, I can see two dots vertically stacked, just before the letter D. That's the cross-reference marker. So now I can either carefully drag to select the text, but not that marker, or what's even easier is to put my cursor in this text frame, and press Command or Control + Y to open the story editor.
Now it's really obvious where the cross-reference marker is, and I can avoid it while I select the text and change it to say Best Subscription Deal Ever! I'll close the story editor. I'll go back to page 10, and look in my Cross-References panel. Here I can see from the alert icon that my cross-reference is out of date, and to fix it, I can just click the button to update cross-references, right here. And the text changes.
Now, let's not forget, this is supposed to be an interactive feature. So let's test that by exporting an interactive PDF. I'll just press Command or Control + E, export to the desktop. We'll just call it Cross-Reference. We'll choose Format, PDF Interactive, and click Save, and Export. And if we go to page 10, here's our cross-reference, move our cursor over it. We can see that it's a link that we can click to jump to the subscription form.
And remember, cross-references work in all interactive documents that we cover in this course. So EPUB, PDF, and Publish Online.
- Overview of interactive document types, including PDF and EPUB
- Creating interactive objects
- Setting up hyperlinks, cross-references, and a table of contents
- Working with media
- Publishing documents with Publish Online
- Creating EPUBs
- Following workflows for interactivity: interactive PDF, reflowable EPUB, and fixed-layout EPUB